Power of the Sun to Harvest Hydrogen

John Davis

SunCatalytixA Massachusetts company is working on developing a cheap catalyst that will separate water molecules to harvest the hydrogen for home use.

This story from Greentech Media
says Sun Catalytix wants to use solar power to unlock the molecules. If successful, the process could open the door for sources of water that are less than perfect:

Conventional means of extracting hydrogen requires clean water, and water purification equipment can be costly, [Bob Metcalfe, a partner at Polaris and a member of the Sun Catalytix’s board of directors] said. The startup’s catalyst, on the other hand, would use cheap, an inorganic compound that doesn’t require clean water.

“This new catalyst will take dirty water, salt water,” he said. “We’ve made hydrogen from the Boston Harbor.”

It also would have a longer lifespan by mimicking photosynthesis, where proteins in organisms convert sunlight to produce sugars. The company wants to develop a catalyst that could last five to 10 years.

“The catalyst is self-repairing,” Metcalfe said. “It’ll self deposit on the electrodes.”

Sun Catalytix has raised $3 million in capital for the project so far and is set to receive about $4.1 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.